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THE WAY!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, January 11, 2015

“Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:5-6).


The Bible never speaks of Christianity in terms of psychology. It never speaks of Christianity in terms of philosophy, or ethics, or metaphysics, or rationalism, or existentialism. Again and again, in the New Testament, Christianity is simply spoken of as “the way” (In Greek, Hē hŏdŏs – the road, the way). When Paul went to persecute the Christians, before he was converted, he went to persecute any who were “of this way” (Acts 9:2). The Apostle Peter spoke of “the way” (II Peter 2:2). And you find “the way” (hē hŏdŏs) as the name of the Christian faith at least seven times in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul said, “I persecuted this way unto the death” before he was converted (Acts 22:4). As I come to describe the Christian faith I can think of no better way to describe it. Indeed, true Christianity is “the way.”

I. First, the Christian way is a narrow way.

Jesus said,

“...narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14).

It is a narrow way because it speaks of Christ Himself. Our text gives us the words of Christ, “I am the way...no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Billy Graham always had the first half of John 14:6 in huge letters behind him, in neon lights or on a banner, when he spoke to great crowds in his “crusades.” The words Mr. Graham used were these, 

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

For a long time I wondered why Mr. Graham always left out the second half of the verse, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Then one day I realized that he left out the second part because he didn’t want to upset people. They wouldn’t mind him saying Christ was “the way, the truth, and the life.” They might think this could refer to any great philosopher or founder of a religion. They could twist that in their minds to refer to Moses, or Mohammed, or Confucius, or Buddha. They could say, “Yes, that is true of Christ, but it is also true of other great religious leaders or philosophers.” But the second half of the verse would correct that. In the second half Jesus said, “no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Mr. Graham knew those words of Christ would upset, or even anger, many people. So he left those words out of the great banner that was unfurled behind him when he preached. Mr. Graham was afraid they would be offended by the "Scandal of the Cross" - the teaching that only the crucified Christ can save us.

But you and I must never leave out the second half of John 14:6. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall be ashamed...of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory...” (Luke 9:26). I would be terrified to leave out those words of Christ, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The Christian way is a narrow way. It is salvation by faith in Christ alone, as the Reformers put it. True Christianity is a narrow way because it presents Christ as the only Saviour of mankind! The Apostle Peter said,

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Many people think they can be saved some other way. They think they can be saved by church attendance, or by saying a prayer, or by having an experience or a “feeling” of acceptance. But the Bible tells us they are wrong! The Bible says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25). That’s “the way of death.” Christ alone is the way to life! He said,

“I am the way.”
“I am the life” (John 14:6).

The old song Mr. Griffith just sang is absolutely true,

I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
   There is no other way but this;
I shall [not] get sight of the gates of light,
   If the way of the cross I miss...
(“The Way of the Cross Leads Home” by Jessie B. Pounds, 1861-1921).

Yes, the true Christian faith is a narrow way. Jesus said, “I am the way.” He meant that He is the only way. Why? Because no one else was God incarnate, God in human flesh, dying to pay for our sins. No one else in all of history was capable of doing that! Only Jesus can save you from sin and from judgment.

II. Second, the Christian way is a simple way.

Christ is the way to God. It is a simple way, a plain way, easy to understand. It is not a mysterious, vague, or secret way! Not at all! Looking ahead to our dispensation, the prophet Isaiah said,

“An highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness...the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein” (Isaiah 35:8).

Christ died on the Cross to pay for our sin. He died in our place to atone for our sin. He rose from the dead and is in Heaven at the right hand of God. Trust Him and He will pardon your sin and save you. There’s nothing complicated about that. I say it in nearly every sermon. It’s the simple Gospel of Christ.

People do not stumble because the Gospel is vague or mysterious. They stumble because they want a feeling of assurance instead of Jesus Himself. Or they fail because they don’t completely trust Him. They are like a man who wants to go up in an airplane, and keep one foot on the ground at the same time! To go up in an airplane, you have to sit down in the seat and trust the pilot and trust the plane. That’s the way you trust Christ. Put your whole trust on Him – and don’t look for a feeling of acceptance. Trust Him alone and He will save you. The Christian faith is a plain and simple way.

When I was fifteen years old I knew there was a God. I knew He was great. I knew He was fearful. I knew He was awe-inspiring and holy. But I tried to save myself by being good. I refused to do the sinful things that other teenagers did in the church. I was like a Pharisee. I thought, “I’m not like those sinners.” I memorized Scriptures. I prayed. On Easter Sunday in 1958 I dedicated my life to be a preacher. I was seventeen years old – trying to be a Christian by being good! But the Apostle Paul said we are not saved “by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). And that mercy can only come to us by simple faith in Jesus Christ.

I knew a young man who had a tremendous experience. He told about “feeling” the presence of Christ. He was sure, from that experience, that he was saved. But a few years later he left the church and everyone knew that he had never been saved. He depended on a “feeling.” And the Devil gave him the “feeling” he wanted. But that didn’t save him. Salvation can only come by simple faith in Jesus Christ. The Christian faith is a plain and simple way.

III. Third, the Christian way is a bloody way.

The Christian way is painted red. It is a bloody way. The blood-red road of Christianity goes straight through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. In the Garden of Eden God saw an animal and took its skin and made coats to cover the sin of our first parents. Abel brought a bloody offering and was thereby accepted by God. On the night of the Passover the Israelites sprinkled the blood of a lamb on their doors. The judgment of God “passed over” them, for God said,

“When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you...” (Exodus 12:13).

God did not say, “When I see the dead lamb I will pass over you!” No! No! God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”

When I see the blood, When I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.
   (“When I See the Blood” by John G. Foote, 19th century).

I read in article the other day that said it is becoming popular for young preachers to say that we are saved by the death of Christ, “not by His blood.” That is truly horrible!

There are two elements in the Lord’s Supper, not one! Why do we take the cup if the Blood is not needed to “cleanse us from all sin”? (I John 1:7). I’m afraid John MacArthur has led many young preachers to proclaim a “bloodless” gospel. MacArthur said, “the blood of Christ [is] a vivid phrase used to represent Christ’s sacrificial death” (note on I Corinthians 10:16). He said, “Blood is a substitute word for death” (note on Hebrews 9:14, The MacArthur Study Bible). Again he said, “References to the Savior’s blood are not simply pointing to the fluid...” (The MacArthur Bible Commentary; note on Romans 5:9).

That is a reprehensible error! Throughout the Old Testament a lamb was offered as a blood-sacrifice to God, as an expiation for the sins of the people. In the New Testament the Blood of Jesus was shed for the remission of sins. When Jesus took the cup at the Last Supper, He said,

“This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

Let John MacArthur, and all of his “bloodless” young followers think deeply about the second element in the Lord’s Supper – the cup, which represents His Blood! A bloodless gospel is no gospel at all! It offers no cleansing to guilty souls! In Heaven we will worship –

“him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

Others may follow MacArthur, but as for me, I will stand with that champion of faith, that great old scholar with a Ph.D. in New Testament Greek, Dr. W. A. Criswell, for it was Criswell who said,

From the beginning in Eden to the glorious consummation in the New Jerusalem [the blood] is plainly seen. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission from sin and its penalty, for it is the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, that cleanses us from all sin. That message comes to us in the words of the songwriter:

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

(W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., Christ the Savior of the World, Crescendo Book Publications, 1975, pp. 71, 72).

Dr. Criswell could have taught Koine Greek to John MacArthur! Dr. Criswell was such an expert in New Testament Greek he could quote much of the Greek New Testament from memory! Follow Dr. Criswell and believe in Christ’s Blood! The new way is the bloodless way! The old way is the right way! And it is the only way! The Christian way is a bloody way – salvation and cleansing from sin by the Blood of Jesus Christ.

We have had people come to be counselled in our inquiry room, but they are not saved. I never hear those people talk about the Blood of Jesus! They are always talking about having assurance – but they don't talk about Christ’s Blood! They don't mention His Blood. They don't use the word! No wonder they don’t get saved! The Bible says, “Without [the] shedding of blood is no remission” – no forgiveness, no salvation, ever without the Blood of Jesus! (Hebrews 9:22).

The Christian way is a narrow way. It is a simple way. It is a bloody way. And it is the only way! For Jesus said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Why is salvation only by Him? Because Jesus is the only one who is holy. He is the only begotten Son of God. He is the only one with holy Blood, to cleanse you from sin.  The Bible speaks fo "the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).  The only Blood that can cleanse you is the Blood of God! That is the Blood of Jesus, God the Son. That is the Blood of God! Please stand. Mr. Griffith, please come and sing “‘Twas Jesus Blood.”

A sinner, lost, condemned was I,
   Doomed an eternal death to die;
But Jesus died for me,
   He bore sin's penalty,
On Calvary's hill was lifted high.
   'Twas Jesus' blood that ransomed me,
From chains of sin He set me free.
   While ages roll, my song shall be:
'Twas Jesus' blood that ransomed me.

I ne'er could be at peace with God,
   But for the cleansing, crimson flood,
No one but Christ would win
   Atonement for all sin –
He signed my pardon with His blood.
   'Twas Jesus' blood that ransomed me,
From chains of sin He set me free.
   While ages roll, my song shall be:
'Twas Jesus' blood that ransomed me.

No doubter's scorn or creed of man
   Can shake my faith in Calvary's plan;
His blood redeemed my soul,
   It made me pure and whole;
By faith my life in Him began.
   'Twas Jesus' blood that ransomed me,
From chains of sin He set me free.
   While ages roll, my song shall be:
'Twas Jesus' blood that ransomed me.
   (“‘Twas Jesus’ Blood” by Harry D. Loes, 1892-1965).

The Blood of Jesus is the only thing in all the world that can cleanse you from sin and take you to Heaven. Amen. Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: John 14:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“The Way of the Cross Leads Home” (by Jessie B. Pounds, 1861-1921).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE WAY!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:5-6).

(Acts 9:2; II Peter 2:2; Acts 22:4)

I.   First, the Christian way is a narrow way, Matthew 7:14;
Luke 9:26; Acts 4:12; Proverbs 16:25.

II.  Second, the Christian way is a simple way, Isaiah 35:8; Titus 3:5.

III. Third, the Christian way is a bloody way, Exodus 12:13;
I John 1:7; Matthew 26:28; Revelation 1:5; Hebrews 9:22; Acts 20:28.